Women Want More

The sellers of the first washing machines managed to get the marketing message out to women in a way that still strikes a chord. Their strategy was highlighting the benefits it would bring by listing various items that could be saved by the user; things such as time, labour, nerves, clothes and strenght…

Interstingly enough, these are all things that today’s woman is still desperately trying to find more of. Unfortunately this highly relevant marketing message has gone from being explicitly clear in the early 20th century, to becoming vague, irrelevant and pushy at worst in today’s world.

A new book from  Boston Consulting Group has now pinpointed what the washing machine salesmen of the 20th centrury were already on to. Their new book “Women Want More” looks at the new “female economy”, a massive economic force that will drive $5 trillion in incremental global spending during the next few years and simultaneously make any marketeer salivate at the possibilities of getting a share of that pie.

The book aims at providing marketeers with an overview of this massive female demographic out there, pointing out facts such as that 1 billion women are currently working worldwide, that more than half of college students are women, and that actually women control more than half of the wealth in the US.

But mainly, the book tries to point out what major challenges are currently affecting women and aims at providing marketing insights into how to go about appealing to women by providing solutions to their problems rather than pushing irrelevant products on them. Lack of time was stated as the biggest challenge by most women along with the feeling of being pressured to balance all necessary tasks in every day life. MarketingCharts summarises the problem with time into the following three segments:

1. Too many demands. Almost half of women surveyed felt there were too many demands on their time.
2. Too many conflicting priorities. Many of the demands felt by women directly conflict with one another.
3. Not enough time for me. Women have a lack of leisure time with the lack of “me time” coming out as the top time-related concern of 45% of women surveyed.

In addition to looking at challenges perceived by women, the Boston Consulting Group also categorized female consumers as broadly belonging to one of the following six broad archetypes, offering marketeers the opportunity to address the common problem of time, but from a point of view of each archetype. 

  • Fast Tracker: A high-driven perfectionist who wants to make the most of everything she does.
  • Relationship Focused: A woman who may live with a romantic partner and spends most of her free time with them.
  • Managing on Her Own: A divorced professional who likes being independent but hopes to marry again someday.
  • Pressure Cooker: A married mother with a full-time job who lacks the time to manage everything in her life and the resources to obtain help.
  • Making Ends Meet: A low-income woman who may have health problems and struggles with frustration and debt.
  • Fulfilled Empty Nester:A married homeowner with grown children who no longer live at home.

Following this interesting overview of various aspects that need to be taken into consideration when dealing with women from a marketing point of view, “Women Want More” also dives further into segmentations and what segments are actually serving the female target group properly. 

While most marketeers will jump at the chance to find out a bit more about how this is done, “Women Want More” emphasises the old but valuable lesson about the importance of having a relevant product with the right message going out to the right target group. Just like the waching machine sales men in the early 20th century managed to do, and mostly to great succes.

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